Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah begins today at sundown, and in ten days public schools across Maryland will be closed in honor of Yom Kippur. You can study these important festivals in the Jewish calendar in Leviticus.

Leviticus 23:24-25, "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD."

Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year,” and is the first of the High Holidays, sometimes called the "Days of Awe,” or “The Ten Days of Repentance.” These ten days are specifically set aside every year to focus on repentance that conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the start of the Hebrew new calendar year and commemorates the creation of human beings. According to the Jewish calendar, this year is number 5,770.

Rosh Hashanah is characterized by the blowing of the shofar, a trumpet commonly made from a ram's horn, intended to awaken the listener from his or her "slumber" and alert them to the coming judgment. Now it makes sense to read what Paul wrote about the second coming of Christ in

1 Corinthians 15:52: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement”, and is the most solemn and important of the Jewish holidays.

Leviticus 23:27-31 "Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places."

Leviticus 25:9 "Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land."

Numbers 29:7-11 "On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, but you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old: see that they are without blemish. And their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs: also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings. Yom Kippur’s central themes are atonement and repentance."

Jews have traditionally observed this holiday with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer.

Yom Kippur is considered one of the holiest of Jewish holidays, and its observance is held even among the majority of secular Jews who may not strictly observe other holidays. Many secular Jews will fast and attend synagogue on Yom Kippur, where the number of worshippers attending is often double or triple the normal attendance. Yom Kippur is the climax of the"Days of Awe,” and with Rosh Hashanah forms the Jewish High Holy Days.

Just like Christians have Christmas Eve, there is a Yom Kippur Eve called Erev Yom Kippur The day is commemorated with a festive meal, giving of charity, and visiting others to seek or give forgiveness. Virtually all Jewish holidays involve a ritual feast, but since Yom Kippur involves fasting, Jewish law requires a person to eat a big feast on the afternoon before Yom Kippur. Many Orthodox men immerse themselves in a mikvah, which is a special pool of water for purification, on the day before Yom Kippur.

Before sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement"), the congregation gathers in the synagogue. The Ark is opened and two people take from it two Torah scrolls, and the congregation begins a service held only once each year.

Total abstaining from any food or drink usually begins a half hour before sundown and ends after nightfall the following day, and on the day of Yom Kippur it’s traditional to wear white clothes to symbolize one's purity.

Having an understanding of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur gives deeper and richer meaning to what the Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled in Himself

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment and join the conversation

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment and join the conversation

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